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But I Don't Feel Too Old to Be a Mommy!: The Complete Sourcebook for Starting (and Re-Starting) Motherhood Beyond 35 and After 40 Paperback – Feb 7 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: HCI (Feb. 7 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558748288
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558748286
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #616,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Doreen Nagle writes a weekly column called "Parenting in a Nutshell." Her work, which includes writing on lifestyle and health topics, has appeared nationally (Family Circle, Gannet newspapers) as well as in radio syndication. Originally from New York, she lives in California with her psychotherapist-husband, Jules, and their son, Skyler.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Pros and Cons

from Chapter 3

Just about everything we do has an up side and a down side. Delaying motherhood is no exception.

There are lots of myths associated with becoming a mother later in life; then there are the realities. Let's get the not-so-good ones out of the way first . . . then stay tuned for the plentiful positive aspects of motherhood over thirty-five and forty.


Less Energy

It's the single biggest worry potential mothers in this age group have: "Will I have the energy to keep up with my child?" A decline in energy is a natural part of getting older; after all, we have more years under our belts than our younger counterparts. Motherhood or not, the mere reality of those years translates to more stress on our bodies and accompanying lowered levels of energy. But don't count older mothers out of the game just yet. First of all, as a group we take pretty good care of ourselves. Second, thirty-five and forty are no longer considered "old" by any stretch of the imagination. Mom versus mom, it's not a foregone conclusion that you will have less energy than the twenty-year-old moms in your playgroup. Glance around the next time you go to the park. Plenty of younger mothers look pretty pooped after chasing their toddlers while lots of older ones are energized doing the same thing.

Look on the bright side: As one over-forty mom of a sixteen-month-old explained, "It works out great. My son and I are on the same nap schedule."

The Need for Privacy

Privacy is important for everyone. The fear of loss of privacy is a big issue in any new living-together relationship, be it adult-and-adult or child-and-adult. Women who have waited to become mothers are most likely used to getting a lot of privacy if they've been childless, or if they have older children off doing their own thing.

Getting privacy when there are children in the house is manageable; it just requires some planning. For example, wait till nap time to get privacy for your bubble bath. As your child grows, more can be explained about your (and his or her) need for privacy. Boundaries can be more firmly drawn.

As long as your child is safe and occupied, it is not your responsibility to entertain him or her every waking moment.

Work, Work, Work

Unless you are sitting in the catbird seat when it comes to money, you may wind up having to work at least part- time past the traditional retirement age in order to pay for your child's college and your own "senior citizen" needs.

Mothers who delayed motherhood won't be the only ones working into their later years. Word is our generation will be working well into their seventies, young children at home or not. Even those who can afford to retire won't, say the experts. Because we are living longer in healthier ways, we will want to continue to be active and engage in some style of work; many of us will have at least a small home-based business.

A Loss of Generations

If you wait a long time to become a mother, your child will likely not have the same extended family to grow up with that his classmates with younger parents do. Great-grandparents―and in many cases even grandparents―will not be around for him or her.

Parents in their twenties have typically three or four generations of family members to offer their children; those in their forties typically have one or two (themselves and their own parents). "Many younger parents have their own youngish parents to count on if they need help or want to get away for the weekend without the kids. Our parents were in their late seventies when we finally had Hannah, so we couldn't count on them in the same ways," says one over-forty mother of three children, all under five.

You can fill in the gaps by putting together a strong extended family of friends for your child, which might require a lot of work. Also remind yourself that not all children have large, warm and loving "Norman Rockwell" families, no matter how old their mothers are.

Later Mothers Wrap Themselves Up Too Much in Their Children

Again, this can be true, especially of women who have given up interesting careers to be stay-at-home moms. These are women used to putting their full focus on their careers. Motherhood is now that career. This can turn into a problem when the mother becomes so enmeshed in the child's outcome (how smart, cute, likeable, athletic, etc. he or she is), rather than focusing on the love, fun and growing bond between them.

Are You Part of the "Sandwich Generation"?

Will you care for aging parents while at the same time mothering your own young children and saving for college tuition? Raising children and caring for aging parents are each intense, time-consuming and emotionally draining commitments leaving little free time for the mother/caregiver trapped in the middle. Luckily, today there is a depth of understanding of how hard this situation can be. As a result, a wealth of information and support exists, from books to organizations of kindred spirits offering good advice and more.


These Children Are Advantaged

A 1993 university study found that mothers in this age group are not only more educated as a group, but they "bring a tremendous amount to a child. They have more life experience and therefore can impart more advantages to their children." Furthermore, these women were found to be grateful that they were able to become mothers after delaying motherhood and were very appreciative of their newfound role. As opposed to feeling resentful that they were now "tied down" to family life, these women felt that they were at last on the "inside track."

The study also found that older parents were better at talking to children like they are "real people."

On the flip side, many of these mothers were found to have unrealistic expectations of themselves. After years of having to be a "perfect" employee, they believe they have to be a "perfect" mother.

Ready for It

Few older mothers get pregnant by chance; no one ever adopted by accident. Women who delay motherhood have given it a lot of thought and often go through a lot to get their children―from arduous, expensive and often disappointing infertility treatments to sometimes humiliating adoption procedures. They are not merely appreciative of the gift of motherhood, they are chomping at the bit, rarin' to go in their new role! They've been there, done that―made decisions based solely on their own needs, spent their free time as they saw fit, did likewise with their money. Their emotional, spiritual and sometimes physical health are better than when they were in their twenties.

Less Focus on Self

A surprising by-product of becoming a mother after so many years of being without little ones is that it forces you to stop being the center of your own universe; in other words, to stop being self-centered. Along with the responsibility of mothering comes limited time for indulgences into self-pity or trivial matters. You live a less outwardly-focused life. Many women interviewed for this book said that if they had had a baby earlier on, their children would have lost the fight for who is the most important member of the family: Mom would have won hands down.


Who amongst us hasn't become more tolerant with every passing year? This spills over into mothering in big, important ways. Older mothers have a tendency to be more forgiving, talk things out with their children, brag rather than freak-out when their tiny ones start drawing on the wall. Patience is a requirement in raising an independent child.

Cautious But Not Overly Concerned

A kindred spirit to patience is lessened anxiety. When it comes to allowing their children to take calculated age-appropriate risks, many older mothers find themselves allowing―indeed, encouraging―their children. They often err on the side of cautious permissiveness because they are more relaxed.

This comes from more . . .

. . . Self-Confidence

As someone who brings the wisdom of maturity to mothering, the older mother is more confident in her abilities as a parent. She knows herself better and therefore can raise her child with a steadier hand. She'll also be more likely to fend off unwanted parenting advice and stick to her guns when friends insist she is doing it wrong. This works not only to her advantage, but to her child's benefit: The values she brings are well thought-out.

Don't Have Time to Play Anymore?

You will now. As a matter of fact, both your inner and outer child will be forced to play on a daily basis. Here's a chance to let loose, be goofy, make silly faces, utter ridiculous noises all to very favorable audience review―so go ahead and take advantage.

Motherhood Keeps You Younger

It's a fact that keeping up with your child will keep you young mentally, but now there is proof that older mothers who give birth live longer: A Boston study says that women who have given birth after the age of forty may be four times more likely to outlive their non-childbirthing counterparts. The study concludes that later pregnancies are a sign that the reproductive system is aging more slowly, which could mean a later menopause: Estrogen loss, therefore, is delayed and can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The study warns, however, that you should not conclude that if you have difficulty conceiving past age forty, it signifies an early death.

Another study of sixty-nine couples says that older parents take better care of themselves, staying mentally young with more mental resiliency. Later mothers have more tendency to take care of themselves. "Having my child made me want to take a look at my lifestyle and eat better and exercise regularly. Every time I don't want to get on the treadmill, I think about how many more years I have to go keeping up with her, and I force myself off to the gym," a fit forty-four-year-old mother of a nine-month-old says.

Read chapter 15, "In It for the Long Haul," for more ways to care for yourself.

And Finally, for All Those People
Who Waited . . .

Friends and family who waited for you to become a mother will be so happy that you have done it at last, that they'll offer to babysit so you can escape for a dinner out.

Well, at least once.

¬2001. All rights reserved. Reprinted from But I Don't Feel Too Old to be a Mommy! by Doreen Nagle. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

If you're looking for what the title of this book promises, look at Sheila Kitzinger's "Birth Over Thirty-Five" instead, a sensitive and far-ranging exploration of many, many issues of interest to the mature woman who is pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant.
Nagle's book is NOT, by any means, a "complete sourcebook for starting (and restarting) motherhood beyond 35 and after 40." It would be better billed as a sourcebook for information about a wide range of super-high-tech methods for getting pregnant. That is the topic of the bulk of the book. Emphasis is definitely on the high-tech. The existence of natural, holistic approaches is given cursory mention only.
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By A Customer on Sept. 10 2003
This book covers literally everything I wanted to know about becoming an "older" mom. It's what every woman in my position would need to think about and know about.Fertility is only a part of this book (I find too many other books for women in this age group focus only on fertility and pregnancy when there is so much more to consider: for instance, would we have to move? Give up my job? There is a huge section on career options including being a stay at home mom). This book covers every possible other way to become a mom -- from adoption (Nagle adopted a boy), surrogacy, even a foster mom which no other book even considers. The book is also loaded with questions to consider about motherhood after 35, and talks with a lot of humor and warmth about what life is really like after later motherhood becomes a reality. There is lots of practical great information. Nagle is realistic and very positive. You can tell she loves being a mom. It is a book written for women: mothers to be and mothers to be again, even though dads are considered in passing. It's a great resource.
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This encouraging, uplifting book is is written by a woman who became a mother to a gorgeous Russian-born boy later in her own life (a photo of the two of them is on the back cover; he is a cutie). The book is better-suited to someone who is thinking about becoming a mother rather than for someone who is pregnant or has otherwise decided to become a mother. It is a supplement to, but not a substitute for, a good pregnancy guide -- it doesn't have pictures of what your belly will look like at any given time or what to do about morning sickness & such. The author emphasizes the positive aspects of older motherhood -- the wealth of experience we have, how healthy we are, how patient & self-confident we are, the advantages we can give to our children, how having children keeps us young. She provides a list of 32 questions to thing about before you decide to embark on motherhood -- they're all thought-provoking & well worth spending time on. She includes quotes from a number of older mothers (and stepmothers) discussing the experiences. She discusses ways of becoming a mother (the old standard, infertility treatments, adoption, surrogacy, even step-parenting). One thing I particularly like about the book is the author's focus on maternal health & fitness -- for the child's sake. Twenty-something-moms may take their own youth & health for granted in a way that we forty-something-moms can't really afford to do. Overall, a good resource, particularly for those contemplating later-in-life motherhood.
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This book has lots of info I never thought about. I am in my mid-40s and for the first time I am thinking about becoming a mother. This book helps me think with my head as well as my heart and try to plan for my life. I also realize that becoming a mother is more than just worrying about getting pregnant (you know, can I/can't I?). Parenting a child is what it's about, no matter how I get there (like adoption). Nagle is vey encouraging without overselling. She also doesn't pretend to be an expert on fertility. If you are thinking about becoming a mother in your late 30's or more, this is the book.
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I know this book is about mid-life *motherhood* but there was very little information about how daddy fits into the whole scene. My husband is going to be a stay-at-home Mr. Mom to our children and there was almost no information about this "growing phenomenon" in the working section. There was plenty about starting your own homed based business but I don't find that option very realistic, or appealing, frankly. Other than that I found the book to be a good overview of things to think about.
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